Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone
by Sally Larkin Green
… There are times in each of our lives when God will call us out to do something unusual, to do something that makes us feel uncomfortable in order to make his kingdom great. You don’t have to preach sermons, or become involved in a church, all you need is a heart for God and a willingness to take action…
Forgiveness, it’s something we all have to deal with. How do we handle it when someone cheats us, when someone breaks our trust or doesn’t abide by a promise made? Do we sulk? Do we get angry? Do we develop an attitude of “I don’t care” or apathy? Do we define our life by constantly looking back at what someone did to us — to the point where we can’t function today? Do we say we forgive, but hold onto the hurt and think about the wrong doing throughout the day, instead of looking at the now and living today. How difficult is it for us to let go and let God? Forgiveness is hard. Learning to let go of hurts is hard. Life is hard…
Forgiveness is about you – not the person or people who hurt you, because most of the time they’re not bothered by it, you are. However, forgiveness isn’t about looking the other way and letting someone continue to hurt you and it doesn’t mean that you have to continue the same relationships you had before. You can forgive and walk away. Forgiveness is about stopping the thoughts of being victimized and getting ourselves upset and replacing them with thoughts of love and peace and faith instead. Its about choosing to live each day anew.
When we look at forgiveness in this light, from the eyes of God, we realize the scope of the phrase, “Jesus died for the forgiveness of our sins”. We see that God does not see our faults or our past when looking at us today. We discover that there is no need us to feel shame or guilt or despair. We remember that we are loved and forgiven and that the events of the past have melted away and all that we are left with is today and our future to discover. So stop dwelling on the past and stop focusing your energy on those who hurt you. Instead, focus on the blessings in your life right now. If you choose to change your thoughts and not dwell on the past but imagine your future full of God’s blessings, you will be able to forgive. Someone once said, if we could only stop thinking, we’d have no problems…. 🙂 Remember, you can’t drive to where you want to go, if you are concentrating on your rear view mirror.
And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. Mark 11:25
‘You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot. Matthew 5:13-16
You have had the experience, I’m sure, you sit down to dinner and you take that first bite, only to discover that the cook left out the salt. Or perhaps the doctor has ordered you on a salt-free diet. Have you ever tried eating popcorn, French fries or pretzels without salt? They’re kinda bland. Salt is such a little thing, such a common thing, that we take it for granted. But how big it becomes when it isn’t there!
When Jesus was preaching the sermon on the mount, he looked at his disciples and said – “You are the salt of the earth… ”
Salt was a very valuable commodity at the time Jesus walked the earth. In fact, the Greeks called salt ‘Divine” and Roman solders were partially paid in salt. I believe that Jesus was telling us how valuable we are to God, and to the world we live in.
Perhaps you do not see yourself as someone of value. In fact, you may think that you are unworthy, not valuable at all, but with these words, Jesus places a great value on you. So take time today to step back and realize how valuable you are, to let yourself feel the spirit of God moving in your life; to stop, amid all the chaos of everyday life and smell the roses – count your blessings. Because too many times we are so busy with our day to day activities that we forget how valuable we really are.
We use salt to give flavor to every possible kind of food, don’t we? Salt has a definite purpose. Salt gives food flavor; and, if used properly, will make an otherwise bland meal taste great! We are to influence the world in which we live by giving flavor to it. Rather than walking around with sour looks on our faces, we are the ones who should be the first to smile – the first to show joy! We should be the life of the party!
Not only is salt valuable but it was important for survival because it was the only way they had to preserve meat. They didn’t have the refrigeration that we do today, so salt was rubbed into the meat before it was stored because it helped prevent decay. Does this mean that Jesus is telling us that we have the purpose of hindering the process of decay in our society? I believe it does – especially with the people that we deal with everyday.
It’s not always easy to live a life on purpose, to say no to temptation, to do the right thing. We all stumble and fall. We all struggle with temptation – and doing the right can oftentimes be difficult. But God is there for you, you will find an inner strength that you didn’t know existed. You will notice that other followers will come to your rescue and you will be lifted up every time you fall. You will become stronger, more confident and wiser with each right decision you make. You will discover opportunities to help others who are going through what you have overcome. This is part of our purpose; this is what being the salt of the earth is all about; helping & influencing others. Do not step away from the path that God has put you on. Become the salt of the earth and sprinkle the love of God on those who cross your path and on those who come to you seeking to know Jesus.
I seem to be saying this a lot lately… Sometimes life throws us a curve ball and we’re up to bat trying to figure out what happened and what to do next. Our entire life can change in an instant … for the better or for the worse. Many people I know are going through times of struggle, grief, mourning, stress and despair and I feel helpless, but I keep coming back to these 5 little words … One day at a time.
To all my family & friends struggling with grief … take it one day at a time. . . Celebrate the life of the one you have lost and cherish the good memories.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Matthew 5:4
Life continually has its twists and turns and we all go through storms ~ some are more fierce and scary than others~ We all deal with the tough times in our own way, but know this… you are not alone.
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified
because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you;
he will never leave you nor forsake you.
Deuteronomy 31:5, 6
Sometimes the situation we are in is not something we are supposed to get over, it’s something we have to go through. If we are open to it, in the process we may discover people we can count on, make new friends we would have never met otherwise, find an inner strength we never knew we had, or develop an appreciation for life we didn’t have before.
God puts some people in our life to bring us comfort, joy, peace and love. Look for those people in your life and know that you are in my thoughts and prayers.
Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:18-31
Feel free to share your favorite memory of a loved one you have lost in the comment section below if you would like to. Sometimes remembering the past helps us deal with the present and gives us hope for the future.